Make Me Laugh!

Dear Public,

I have a new constellation of appetites, see? I’ve long bragged of needing neither gods nor jesters beyond my own circle. “All my heroes are friends of mine,” I’ve claimed, “and all my comedians are a phonecall away.”

I’m not sure this stance has come undone, but lately I find myself noshing on biographies and comedies like they were pineapple and ham. Thus I’m  begging, tell me who’s funny!

Here’s where I’m at, for reference:

Contemporarily Speaking: Tom Scharpling is king. Patton Oswalt is also great.

Old Days: Woody Allen, Bill Murray.

Older Days: Peter Sellers, Alec Guinnes.

What do I need? There’s a lotta damn holes here! Something on the tv? A comic book or movie? Ooh, a comedy record?

Recommendations, please. As for bios, I’m fine; still got two volumes of old Trotsky to go.

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15 Responses to “Make Me Laugh!”

  1. Wil-bro Says:

    What about Neil Hamburger? His “Prank Phone Calls” album is hysterical, IMHO. Glad to see Sellers made the list. He’s one of my all-time favorites. Dane Cook isn’t funny – at all.

  2. andrew schmidt Says:

    dane cook is a piece of shit.
    go for some old dana carvey.
    but, seriously, if you want to watch some funny shit, check out this clip of Crispin Glover on Letterman from ’87:

    or, Kids in the Hall.

  3. Ben Says:

    I’m behind the times with comedy. What did you think of Borat?

  4. km Says:

    3 things:

    the colbert report
    america’s funniest home videos
    jackass (the first movie)

    i love me some woody allen and the usual intellectual funnies, but for real laughing i’ll take my comedy physical and mainstream, thank you very much.

    (oh and don’t forget gene tracy and R. Kelly.)

  5. jordan Says:

    I was recently badly addicted to You Tube colbert report. And this is probably totally obsolete and behind the times, but there are still people who haven’t seen the original British “Office”,which could be the funniest shit EVER.

  6. Wil-bro Says:

    Good call on “The Office,” Jero…Pat, if you haven’t seen it yet – it’s a must-watch (ignore the American version, though I’ve heard it funny – go straight for the BBC version – it’s available on DVD…) Also, if you can procure it – though I imagine this is most difficult, what with the region coding on DVDs, the British comedy series “Big Train” makes for big laughs.

  7. wobs Says:

    No! Don’t avoid the American version of “The Office”! It really is the funniest – if not the best – fare on American television today. It compares every bit as favorably to its British namesake, but takes place in an idiom with which you’re vastly more familiar. Plus, it stars Steve Carell, who is heads-and-shoulders above the rest of his “Daily Show” peers in terms of acting talent. His portrayal of Michael on “The Office” is brilliant

  8. wobs Says:

    Shit, while I’m at it: you can’t go wrong with Dave Chappelle. He’s consistently one of the edgiest contemporary comedians, and even when he misses with the laughs, his underlying social commentary is often spot-on.

    I’m also going to suggest you seek out some comedy classics on vinyl. Richard Pryor’s and Lenny Bruce’s comedy albums are still fucking hilarious and serve as tributes to their genius.

    On an aside, I have a serious literary love for comedy. I love thinking and talking about why shit is funny. I’m seriously bummed that Aristotle’s writings on comedy were apparently lost to the ages. I am always up for spliffing up, laughing my ass off at something or another, and then talking about what made it funny. Seriously (or maybe not), I love this shit. So if you ever want to talk about comedy as art, I’m your man.

    A couple of other comedians before signing off: Mitch Hedberg’s comedy albums and 1980s Steven Wright always kill me.

  9. Jason Says:

    For a good comedy record, check out any of David Cross’s records, they’re pretty good. My uncle recently loaned me some of Richard Pryor vinyls, and they’re consitently the funniest recordings I have ever heard.

    Will’s half right, the British version of the office is better (the christmas special series wrapup included), but the American version can stand on its own as well. The first season is kinda hard to watch, but it gets alot better.

    I haven’t seen a good funny movie in years.

  10. David Says:

    I saw the Borat movie this weekend, it was hilarious as expected. He’s now being sued by several interviewees that he lampooned in the movie. Like Chappelle he has spot on social commentary as well as face-hurtingly funny gags, all I’ll say is the nude wrestling scene had the whole theater roaring.

    Another American TV show that we’ve been getting many laughs out of on DVD is Arrested Development. It got canceled but I hope it will be resurrected.

    I’ve seen an episode or two of the US version of The Office and, while I love Carrell and the show has it’s amusing spots, the British version is way better.

    Jackass II was good too.

  11. km Says:

    Already Chris: why is Colbert so damn funny?

    k

  12. wobs Says:

    The reason Colbert is so funny first lies in the basics – he’s got the chops: great delivery, great timing, great writing. Another big reason lies in his subject material, parodying narcissistic cable news gasbags whose only credentials seem to be the fact that they are on cable news channels.

    I think his real genius lies in the use of GOP talking points. Not just their use, but explicitly following them to their logical end, thus exposing the hypocrisy and absurdity of the Republican media spin machine.

    Generally, the logical conclusion of these talking points make us uncomfortable: “liberals are traitors” (and thus deserve to be locked in Gitmo, deported to Iran, or shot), global warming is a myth (so party on with the fossil fuels!), conservatives actually won the election last Tuesday… I’m actually not sure what the logical end of that one is, but you get my point. However, when Colbert uses his formidable chops to make us laugh at these conclusions, two things are revealed: 1) again, these conclusions are completely absurd (which is why they’re left unstated) and 2) the people whose job it is to generate GOP talking points don’t believe it themselves and are thus cynical hypocrites. And hypocrisy is comedy gold.

    Colbert and Carell both really excel at exploiting our discomfort, and I actually think this is a common thread in what I’ve come to view as a “Daily Show”-style of comedy.

  13. Kyle Says:

    Did I tell you that I shot machine guns with Patton Oswalt a few weeks ago? I’m making a DVD for his upcoming Sub Pop release. He’s pretty much my favorite actively working standup right now.

  14. nuge Says:

    Of Austin fame, Don’t forget bill hicks. Lenny Bruce is good aussi. Both are good for sheer shock value, which obviously is my favorite


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